As of August 2020, New Hampshire was the only state without a mandatory adult seat belt law, a product of its libertarian tendency to „live free or die.“ As a result, seat belt use in New Hampshire has stagnated at 70 percent, compared to more than 90 percent nationally. When David Hollister introduced a seat belt law in Michigan in the early 1980s that imposed a fine for not fastening the belt, the state official received hate mail comparing him to Hitler. At the time, only 14 percent of Americans regularly wore seat belts, although the federal government required lap belts and shoulder belts in all new cars beginning in 1968. After the automakers executed the DOT`s offers, the government went to the word and ordered the installation of airbags anyway. The law that car manufacturers have worked for, supposedly to save people`s lives, has also backfired. While using seat belts saves some lives, it can hurt and kill others. This caught the attention of lawyers. In addition, some seat belt systems were defective.6 As a result, automakers have received hundreds of millions of dollars in damages in hundreds of lawsuits since 1985. Perhaps you won`t be surprised to learn that in a state known for its Nazism, a government official who pushed the seat belt laws has been charged. The hundreds of millions of dollars spent in support of seat belt laws have been wasted. Not a single penny of that money has ever prevented a single road accident, the real cause of road deaths.
We do not need millions of dollars for stricter seat belt enforcement. Instead, we need more responsibly trained drivers, safer vehicles and better roads to prevent road accidents. Twenty-three states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, had seat belt use rates of 90% or more in 2017.  A person who fastens his or her seat belt in a motor vehicle; Image courtesy of CDC, 1990. Apart from these facts, a person has the right to refuse any recommendation on health care. No non-psychiatric physician would dare to force a person to use a medical device or take a drug or undergo surgery or other medical treatment without full consent. But politicians are forcing motorists to use a health device, a seat belt, against their will, under the threat of punishment that could include jail. Insurance companies have preferred airbags to seat belts. The advantage of an airbag is that it is „passive“ – it is ready to save your life.
When an airbag was installed, a driver had no choice whether to use it or not, which reduced injuries and deaths due to accidents and therefore company payments. The police were against having to stop motorists to enforce the law. A passive airbag would mean that officers could avoid traffic stops. And the protests against seat belt laws did not mean that Americans as a whole ignored them, even if they rejected them on principle. Data collected by federal officials in New York suggests that 70 percent of drivers in the front seat complied with the law two months later. In the UK, it has been observed that around 90% of drivers seated in the front followed the law after a similar period of time. The United States has apparently been more successful in defeating stupid attempts to declare security technology unconstitutional. In Illinois, another state that introduced new seat belt laws in 1985, failure to wear a seat belt when it was introduced was considered a minor offense punishable by a fine of up to $25 (nearly $50 adjusted for inflation). The modest fine was intended to reassure motorists that the law should not be strictly enforced. Instead, the police publicly announced that they would only impose the fine if there were other crimes worth passing the driver. The law went even further by stating that a violation of the Seat Belt Act could not be considered negligence, meaning insurers would still have to pay if a driver had been injured without wearing one.
The struggle for seat belt laws in America in the 1980s reflected widespread criticism of government regulation in a free society. The controversy first flared up in 1973 when NHTSA required all new cars to include low-cost technology called the „seat belt locking mechanism,“ which prevented a vehicle from starting when the driver was not strapped. And yet, four motorists charged under the new law tried to challenge its constitutionality in court. When Illinois introduced laws requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets in 1969, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that this was an unconstitutional restriction on personal liberty — a decision that still applies today. On that occasion, however, the court ruled against the motorists who had filed a complaint. By 1992, TSN had spent $93 million to purchase the passage of seat belt laws in almost every state.4 Popular opposition to the laws sometimes made it difficult to pass them. In most states, the only way to pass the law was to make enforcement secondary; That is, the police could not stop a motorist because he was not using a seat belt, unless the officer witnessed another traffic violation. Some laws applied only to front seat occupants. Exceptions have also been added to reduce resistance. In three states, Mississippi, Rhode Island and Wyoming, laws were passed without punishment. However, NHTSA has not given up seat belts. It adopted a new rule in 1977 that put the ball directly in the realm of car manufacturers.
Detroit had to install some sort of „passive restraint“ — a system that worked automatically without driver intervention — that would protect a crash test dummy from damage if it crashed into a wall at 35 miles per hour. In response to Dole`s promise, automakers formed the Lobby Traffic Safety Now (TSN) and began spending millions of dollars to pass seat belt laws. .